LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more.
LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history. It recognises the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements and is celebrated in February every year in the United Kingdom to correspond with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.
Section 28 was part of the Local Government Act 1988, which stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. It meant that teachers and school staff were scared to talk about same-sex relationships, and they were not discussed in PSHE lessons.
Remember how we got rights
Being in a same-sex relationship was decriminalised in the UK in 1967; this is still recent enough to be in the minds of many citizens. The fight to get there was very difficult, and the journey to full equality since then has been slow, which is why it’s so important to take every opportunity to recognise and celebrate LGBT+ people.
Over 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people live in England and Wales today. This figure is known because – for the first time in over 200 years – the latest census included LGBT+ people. The census is a national survey that takes place every ten years. It gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.
More and more people have been open to learning about the LGBTQ+ community and their lives, helping to change people’s attitudes. In the last few decades, we have all seen an increase in social acceptance of people in gay, lesbian and bi relationships. This acceptance has also seen a steady rise in the population identifying as lesbian, bi, gay or trans. The Rainbow Britain report, commissioned by LGBT+ charity Stonewall, shows evidence of this movement.
Remember those without rights
There are still 73 states in the world that criminalise “private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity”, according to Human Dignity Trust. 331 trans and gender-diverse people were murdered in 2019, according to the group Trans respect. We must keep fighting for equal rights and raise awareness to educate people about LGBTQ+ rights and issues.
LGBT+ history month 2023
This year’s LGBT+ History month theme is ‘Behind the Lens’. It aims to celebrate LGBT+ people’s hard work and contributions to film and cinema production from ‘behind the lens’. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the lives and professional accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, many of who work outside of the limelight in the fields of photography, filmmaking, TV, music and fashion.
Kay Tobin Lahusen
This photo was taken by Kay Tobin Lahusen, a famous lesbian activist and photojournalist.
They started their career by becoming art director of a lesbian magazine called “The Ladder”. Whereas the magazine covers had previously been hand-drawn pictures, Kay decided to use photographs of real lesbian women.
The photograph above is from an Annual Reminder Day picket, a yearly protest against the United States laws at the time which made relationships between two people of the same gender illegal, among many other social inequalities. The word “homosexual” on the placard in the image was used commonly at that time to mean what we would now call “gay people”. It is more usual these days to talk more broadly about the “LGBT+ community” and “LGBT+ rights”.
The pickets were held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, between 1965 and 1969. 1969 is also the year of the Stonewall Riots, recognised as a major turning point in LGBT+ history and rights. The Annual Reminder Day pickets were created by a collective of what we would now call LGBT+ rights organisations.
In 1970, Kay became involved in the founding of the Gay Activists Alliance, one of the major groups that worked to improve rights for gay people in the United States. Kay Tobin Lahusen died in May 2021, age 91.
Written by Justine Hickey School Nurse